authenticity-in-branding[1]

acting with no expectations

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

from the Tao Te Ching

 

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We all have an ambiguous relationship with Authority or power  and so we should as Christians.

I wonder when you last felt powerless? To be powerless is something we all fear briefly clothed, but God laughs when we take it too, so we anxiously remind ourselves of all our virtues and capabilities. Our instinct as human beings is to build our sense of worth, our self-confidence and value on our past achieve­ments, looks, wealth, status, job or family. In other words to build it upon something for which we can claim credit, some power or ability that we possess.

We tend to come before God dressed in our acquired prowess, our moral victories or life’s successes.

Yet before God, none of these counts for anything. The truth is that we do not do God a favour by signing up to this cause. A realistic embrace of our humanity with all its  realities of powerlessness is part of building up a picture of ourselves that God and others recognise and value.

 

silence[2]

‘Silence’, said Seraphim, ‘is the cross on which man must crucify his ego’;

‘Silence transfigures a man into an angel; it is the spiritual practice which most surely preserves inner peace.’

He was constantly repeating the words of St Ambrose, ‘I have seen many who were saved by silence but none who were saved by chatter.

 

Writers-rooms-04_04_2009--005

Starkey offers this commentary:

 

The room is in an 18th-century house and was fitted out by one of the more bizarre figures of mid-20th-century British public life, Sir Hughe Montgomery Knatchbull-Hugessen.  Hugessen retired here in disgrace to write his family memoirs. He did so in this room, and I have a copy of the book on the shelves he built. Ive written on Apple Macs since the early 80s – they’re lovely to use and beautiful to look at. But I still use as the basis of my writing the 4,000 record cards of the Biographical Index to the Court of Henry VIII that I made when I was a research student 40 years ago.

There are some joke cards on the shelves – my favourite is one sent to me by my former producer on my Talk radio show, with a City fat cat reclining in his desk chair saying “Oh sorry, I must have dialled my salary by mistake”. She sent it to me immediately after I’d signed my Monarchy contract with Channel 4. It’s an awful reminder of the temptation to sell out.

I organise my work in the form of a daily diary. Each chapter is strictly chronological but is also monothematic – say, a war, a set of peace negotiations, a joust. I normally begin my first paragraph just before I break for lunch and then work solidly through the afternoon. I start cooking supper at about half past five or six and then go back to the Mac for a final blitz before drinks.

Karen_Blixen_414421a[1]nairobi-kenya-travel-karen-blixen-museum-1[1]

Karen also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen was born at Rungstedlund in Denmark on 17th of April 1885 as the second child of Wilhelm and Ingeborg Dinesen’s five children. She came to Africa in 1914 to marry her half cousin and carry out dairy farming in the then British Colony of Kenya. Her husband had however changed his mind and wanted to farm coffee. Her uncle Aage Westenholz financed the farm and members of both families were share holders. The coffee farm did not do well, suffering various tragedies including factory fire and continuous bad harvest. After her divorce, Karen was left to run the financially troubled farm on her own, a daunting task for a woman of that generation.

the-karen-blixen-museum[1]

She fell in love with an English man, Denis Finch Hatton, and his death in Tsavo in 1930 coupled with the failed farming left Karen little choice but to return to Denmark. She turned to writing as a career following her departure from Africa and published to increasing acclaim such works as Seven Gothic Tales(1934) Out of Africa(1937) and Babette Feat (1950).  The picture above shows where she did most of her writing.

Inside-Of-Karen-Blixen-Museum-In-Denmark[1]

She died on her family estate, Rungsted, in 1962 at the age of 77.

verrassing[1]

surprise

 

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

Alice Walker, Expect nothing

lotus109m[1]

 

opening

 

The Opening and the Close
Of Being, are alike
Or differ, if they do,
As Bloom upon a Stalk.

That from an equal Seed
Unto an equal Bud
Go parallel, perfected
In that they have decayed.

 

Emily Dickinson, The opening and the close

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